20th January 2021 should have been the 26th annual Legends of Rugby Dinner in aid of Nordoff Robbins. We should have been in the JW Grosvenor Marriott, we should have been watching the live musical acts, we should have been bent double laughing at Martin Bayfield, and we should have been celebrating with the rugby lads the career of Richard Wigglesworth.
The Legends of Rugby Dinner committee is made up of an enthusiastic, committed, brilliant team but everyone’s spirits were low on this date; low because we weren’t together, low because we wanted to make a difference for Nordoff Robbins and low….well, because of everything!
I had a thought that perhaps we could still hold the event, virtually. But…. how do you make an event which has brought so many people together over the years, raised so much money into a night just on screens? Well, after last week, I can tell you. You take all the ingredients of this famous night: musical acts, rugby banter, fundraising, celebrating, celebrities and comedy and weigh them all out. You add your binding ingredients in the form of the dinner committee. Next you add some incredible fillings: our sponsors and partners: Universal Music, Lenovo, TechData and Sporting Wine Club. And finally, on the night, on goes sprinkles, the gold leaf, the chocolate shavings and the glitter in the form of all the people sitting at home watching the night, contributing, making a difference and generously supporting.
Last Friday was amazing and I think this is really down to the phenomenal amount of genuine support for the charity and for rugby. Danny Care, Jamie George, Mark Cueto, Jason Robinson, Charlie Hodgson, Andy Gomarsall pitched up to chat with me and my fellow host Lee Mears. Texas and Chris Difford of Squeeze sent in lockdown recordings and we had messages from previous performers KT Tunstall and Tony Hadley as well actors Simon Pegg and Vicky McClure. We were then joined by a host of former internationals and it was so brilliant to see them all: Rob Vickerman, Leon Lloyd, Craig Chalmers, Tim Visser, Tamara Taylor, Simon Halliday, Topsy Ojo, Peter Winterbottom, Mark Regan, John Mallett, Peter Rogers, Andy Nicol, Matt Perry, Alix Popham, Bryan Redpath, Colin Charvis, Ollie Phillips, Matt Perry, Steve Ojomoh, Serge Betsen and Mike Tindall all to help celebrate the stunning rugby career of Richard Wigglesworth.
The night ended in virtual breakout rooms and DJ sets by the utterly brilliant Martin Offiah and Carly Wilford.
So, I can honestly say, the main ingredients to a wonderful night are the people. I am so grateful that we were able to whisk them all up into something meaningful and fun. Thank you to all those who contributed.
See you all next year for the 27th Legends of Rugby Dinner in aid of Nordoff Robbins on Wednesday 2nd February 2022 at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London. For info and to book email firstname.lastname@example.org